English Curriculum Intent
At Queen Eleanor’s, we believe that English and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we will help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become life-long learners. In a fast paced, global world the importance of fluent written and spoken English is crucial and it is essential that we develop these skills through an effective English Curriculum.
Reading is a life skill that every child is entitled to have. We want not only to inspire children through books, but also to promote a love of reading to empower our children to become life-long readers. Books should not be seen as a chore but as a gateway to other worlds, the opening of our imaginations. Through our English curriculum, children are taught to read confidently and methodically, in order to break down the language and structure to analyse meaning. Children will experience a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts and demonstrate mastery through discussion and writing. Children will be able to use and apply their reading skills to access other areas of the curriculum to further extend their knowledge and understanding.
Talk is essential to our writing curriculum. Through talking, children will be able to articulate and express their ideas, views and opinions about a wide range of topics. High quality models of writing are used to inspire children to create writing that they are proud of. Children will be able to write clearly, fluently and accurately for a range of purposes. They will be able to develop detailed ideas in writing, use a wide range of appropriate and ambitious vocabulary and adapt the language to suit their audience. Children are taught to develop their own individual writing style that demonstrates their creativity and enthusiasm for writing.
We aim to create the very best communicators, readers, writers and thinkers.
English Curriculum Implementation
Based on the National Curriculum, we teach writing using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach, employing the three stages of imitation, innovation and invention to a range of non-fiction, fiction and poetry genres. We use high quality texts to model the language, vocabulary, structure, punctuation and grammar that we expect our children to independently apply in their own speaking and writing. Where possible, we link our writing context to the curriculum topics for each year group in order to provide a clear purpose for writing.
The three stages of Talk for Writing
- Imitation – getting to know the model text: all units begin with a hook for writing. The children complete a cold write, which is used to assess prior knowledge and understanding of the genre and to plan the next steps in the teaching and learning sequence. In addition, children are given personalised targets based upon their cold write. Through oral retelling of the model text, children internalise the text, which supports them in their own writing by giving them vocabulary and a structure that they can imitate. We then explore the text as a reader and identify key features of the genre to create a ‘toolkit’. This stage also provides plenty of opportunities to explore and practise new writing conventions and vocabulary in a variety of ways.
- Innovation – this is where the model text is used and adapted in order to create a new version of the genre. During this stage, teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught explicitly throughout the unit and linked to the model text. We teach children to plan, draft, proof read, edit and revise their writing in a variety of ways.
- Invention - by this stage, the children have confidently internalised the text and are familiar with the style and structure of the text type. They are now ready to follow the same process as the innovation but work more independently to produce a Hot Task.
Spelling is interwoven throughout the English Talk for Writing process and across the curriculum. In addition, spelling is taught explicitly using our ‘Speed Spelling’ approach. Children will be introduced to a new spelling rule, taken from the National Curriculum objectives, every two weeks. During this time, spellings are practised in school on a daily basis using a variety of fun and ‘speedy’ activities.
Children are explicitly taught the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum) through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed). Each year group has a focused, high-quality text that they read together and work on during Guided Reading lessons.
Children are encouraged to read regularly at home and in school. With an inspiring library and reading corner in each classroom, children are provided with a range of books that will capture their imagination and promote a love of reading. For early readers, we have a colour-coded book scheme and a range of shorter chapter books to build reading skills and fluency.
Throughout the school, where necessary, phonics is taught using the DFE accredited Twinkl Phonics programme.
English Curriculum Impact
The impact of the English Curriculum on reading is measured daily through guided reading lessons. Progress is evaluated against the reading VIPERS objectives. In addition, formative assessments are completed on a termly (or half-termly in Year 6) basis.
Writing assessment is ongoing throughout every writing lesson and across the curriculum to help teachers with their planning, lesson activities, targeted pupil support and enable appropriate challenge to all children. Children are provided with feedback and next steps to respond to in order to personalise learning and provide the children with opportunities to edit and improve their own writing. Each child is given an individual target card which shows the objectives for writing that they will be working on. These are updated after a ‘hot task’ so that children know which areas of writing they are secure with and which areas they need to develop.
The impact of our English curriculum is measured through the monitoring cycle in school:
• Lesson observations, book scrutinies and learning walks.
• Progression throughout the school is evident in children’s books.
• Gathering pupil voice – to check understanding, understanding of key skills and knowledge, progression, confidence in discussing English.
• Moderating children’s work in school and in writing moderations with other schools to ensure accurate assessments are made.
• Tracking children’s progress each half term in reading and writing. This informs planning and any intervention needed.
• Pupil progress meetings ensure different groups (including EAL, PP and SEND) and individual progress is monitored, and interventions are organised to support good and better progress.
• Parents and carers will understand how they can support reading and writing at home through parent teacher meetings.
• Monitoring is also used to identify gaps in the curriculum that may need to be addressed across the school, or within individual year groups. Monitoring is an ongoing cycle, which is used productively to provide the best possible English curriculum for our children and to ensure it is inclusive to all.